Perhaps a more personal topic than I usually write, this one is too close to home having just attended the funeral of my partner’s 31 year old nephew, and knowing the story of alcoholism that took over his better judgment. I’m struggling with why not to write this, why not help other families, why not change even just one person who reads this.
Army was his name. Drinking and drugging became his answer to something. It got a hold of him, the cunning, baffling and powerful obsession slowly made the decisions for him that would result in his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends saying good bye to a young man who’s organs became the victim to an incurable disease – alcoholism.
Now just for a moment, imagine that was your family member. Your son, grandson, nephew, brother, cousin or friend. Just see the people that you love that you know are users of substance, maybe even yourself, and let that thought really sink into your mind, so you can feel the feeling of loss.
This isn’t a judgment of how other’s spend their time, money, or find answers to their deepest questions or challenges. This is a message that there is another way. There is a road to recovery. There is an honesty that is required, for people to dig deep into, to find out why they do what they do, what the risks are, and how alcoholism affects families.
In my past two years of workplace relationships, resolution and reconciliation services, I’ve heard hundreds of personal stories by people affected by alcohol in their families, stories hidden deep down because alcohol wasn’t a topic to mention. Painful stories of people unaware of how their drinking or another generations drinking affected them, revealing experiences created by the undercurrent that alcoholic families have running, but no-one’s talking about. This has to stop. We need to vent. We need to speak up and encourage those hurting to speak out about how we’re all affected.
I’ve experienced this personally in my relationships too. I’ve been one to party regularly, and luckily managed to escape the powerful grip that substance has on others. As I look back, I’m concerned for our youth. What example do we set for them when they’re little and learning about life? Children learn with they live. What do they continue to see and experience with other adult influences in their lives outside our control? And are we talking with them about it? Are we living the example that we hope our youth model in their later years?
I’ve always said that whatever the question, love is the answer. So many people numb the feeling of not being loved. Not being enough, not being seen, not being acknowledged. Being abandoned. Being abused. Being lied to, cheated on. The list is long … We need to express our love with words. We need to express our challenges with those we’ve grown up with using conversation to talk about things, and not hide in the fear of having difficult discussions for our own healing. We’ve got to be vulnerable enough to share honest thoughts, feelings and experiences. This is the answer that our soul seeks most. Alcohol and drugs are a cover up for the real answer. It just so happens that the numbing affect of alcohol and drugs wear off, and in the constant need for more, our bodies and relationships are strained and broken.
This article is dedicated to the life of Armond Jr. Thorpe to carry on his legacy by empowering people to create one conversation at a time, to help heal those who think they’ve found the answer. If you need help creating conversations, I’m willing to help. Contact me personally.